Sunday, July 26, 2009

food of choice

Hmmmmm, what's in here?

Oh! Oh my! Mine, mine, mine!

What's Logan got?

Hey! I want some! Move out of the way. No fair. They're not sharing!!!

Rogue finds a greater treasure. The whole fryers in the bottom of the fridge. But it seems to be protected by some impenetrable force field. Dang!

I promised folks at the party yesterday and others in emails that I'd write about what I feed. Might be easier to write about what I don't. I don't feed them anything that is toxic to dogs.

Not enough? Ok. I know folks who feed all sorts of ways. Kibble, cheap and "premium." I know people who feed raw and only raw and nothing else. I feed kibble, the premium kind but I switch brands around. If there's a reaction, like Kayla's noxious emissions when she eats Evo, we find something else. Read labels, learn what works for your dog and your budget.
I also give them cooked meat of all kinds but usually ground turkey, veggies, a little fruit, rice, potatoes, ground flaxseed, dairy in the form of cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt. I mix in a vitamin supplement. Sometimes they get sardines. Once a week they get a beef bone to gnaw on and some organ meats. I don't measure anything but the vitamin supplements.
What this does is provides variety. A variety of foods stimulates the immune system and thereby reduces the incidence of allergies. That's my theory anyway and so far it's been successful. The key is to watch the dogs. Are they maintaining a healthy weight? How does their coat look as a general rule? Eyes, mucous membranes? Are they constantly dealing with infections?
Some folks do raw. There are a wide variations in how this is interpreted. I did it for a while and got nervous about how meats are processed but Carolyn says hers are doing fine. Do some research and try it out if you're interested. You may really love what it does for your dog.

Their favorite food in the world? Chicken. I roast mine and they love it. Winco 88¢/lb. for whole fryers. If you cook the chicken don't feed them the bones. They splinter. Raw bones, however, are fine and they love them and the bones love them back in keeping their teeth scraped clean.

Readers with opinions?!! Comment away. Please. Mine is not by a long shot the final authority. I do what works for me. Period. And it will probably change as time goes on and I learn more.

My puppy buyers: Whatever you choose to feed your puppy if it's of good quality they should transition fine. There will be the stress of a new environment that's more likely to have an impact on digestion than the food itself but even that should settle down after a day or so. Please contact me if you have any concerns about your puppy when they are with you. As long as I have breath in my body I am here as a resource. If I don't know the answer my collective dog-loving friends will help me find out.

Now I think someone mentioned an annual cardigan party in the Pacific NW? I think that deserves some attention.

Sing, sing a song

Rogue, named after an X-Men character, will continue to be called Rogue. Her registered name will be Toreth's C-Myste's Rollin' On the River, in honor of Carolyn's geography and music of her generation. CCR's Proud Mary, covered by Ike and Tina Turner, is about a river boat on the Mississippi. The river boats have a rhythmic paddle and flow smoothly down their course. I'm hoping she lives up to that come showtime with her movement. The Rogue River, on the other hand, is a class III+ river in southern Oregon. This connotation suits her sassy personality. I know be careful what you name your babies! But I like an adventurous spirit.

Mags is now called Rio (Toreth's C-Myste's Cry Me a River). It was Carolyn's choice to go along with Rogue's name. I am partial to song names and Rio is just about as perfect a name there is for a boy like him.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

puppy eval

So no surprise but I'm keeping Rogue. She has a lot of virtues that will complement what I already have. I think if she continues to grow the way she has so far I can earn a bred-by medallion.

Carolyn chose Mags, aka mini-Hux. Mini-Hux in temperament and structure.

Logan will live a performance life with a family in the Seattle area. The oldest daughter is interested in agility and he should be well-suited for that.

Charlie has Gail's heart and will live in the country in southern Oregon and also do some agility.

Jean and Milo (formerly known as Remy) will live nearby in PDX area.

Storm is destined to become the Princess of Colorado.

Kristine Gunter took pictures and we'll look at them later.

Good night.

Update: check out blogs of those who took pictures
Carolyn, co-mommy at

And Kristine Gunter, dog photographer and friend at


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pick-a-Puppy part 3: rears

I agree with Kim Kiefer and love Logan's rear the best. Rogue's 2nd. Jean is #3. Mags the least.
Talking virtues rather than faults: turn of stifle, lower hocks, tailset and length of tail, and feet. I think Logan's is ideal. And I could worship those feet. Rogue's tail isn't quite as long but it is more than sufficient. I like her hocks and her tailset slightly more than Logan's.Remember on this last point she has more coat. I'm going on what I feel on the tailset. I like Jean's length of tail but not the set and not so much her stifle.

But let me emphasize these rears are all pretty nice and I'm finding myself being really super picky here. Again I don't need a boy. I don't need a boy. I don't need a boy...

Note: For those who don't like their fingers bit and bleeding from razor sharp puppy teeth, save some chicken bones with a bit of meat left on them. The puppy can gnaw on the bone instead.

Now the pics.


Rogue (I had to reduce the contrast for easier viewing of the angles - she's so dark!!)


Mags (His tail isn't quite *that* short. Why you can't rely on photos alone? Artists call it foreshortening.)

For those who want to see what we're talking about please refer to this website and

For a quick review of dog anatomy see here
Enchanted Learning's Dog Anatomy

A side note

A word on leg or "leggy"-ness. And also a word on laid back shoulders. While the current discussion has been in the interests of which is the best dog to keep for a breeding program it also has an impact on the puppy families. I am getting questions on what do you think of my puppy, especially performance people.

One look at an agility competition should assuage any concerns about whether that "leggy" Cardi can perform well. There are lots of dogs who do really well with longer legs. VBG. The legginess we are speaking of is really minor here. And these dogs will be very Cardigan-looking. I have heard the shorter stature of the Cardigan was for the intention of being better able to duck away from a kicking cow being driven out of a field. But this is really minor and what is more important for herding and agility interests is drive.

The shoulders being too far forward is also very minor here and will not impact the health of these particular puppies as they grow on. It is something we are trying to breed away from because if it gets worse, and I mean a lot worse, it will impact how well those future generations are supported under the heaviest part of their bodies.

For my performance-inclined homes, if I had any concerns about one of these babies doing agility or herding or any other hard work I would express it clearly so you would know. Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions. This is all in the interest of education and that's a good thing!!

Update in case you missed it on the other post: Please refer to this website
if you are wondering what a proper front should look like on a Cardigan. And bear in mind the pictures are of adult dogs. Puppies at 8 weeks should have less turn out. It comes later as they fill out. It takes a lot of experience to make a more accurate prediction.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pick-a-Puppy part 2: fronts

Anyone who has been following knows it's down to 4 puppies. I've liked Rogue a lot for a while and I'm trying to take a step back and see if I need glasses, the kind that see what's really there.
People who see the photos I've posted aren't as impressed with her as much as they are with Logan, Jean and Mags.
Remy, Storm and Charlie are beautiful puppies but you start by eliminating those with the least to offer a breeding program. Charlie is a mismark so we knew from the beginning he couldn't be shown. But I bet he makes a very nice lady a wonderful agility prospect. Remy and Storm have faults but nothing that would interfere with their ability to work and most importantly provide loving companionship.

Breeding program. I was advised someone that I decide where I want to go. A couple of people suggested that I need to decide what I need. What is my ideal dog?
I need more bone. A lower tailset. I want great shoulders and rears. Most of all I want to have my dogs move. I have a great mover with lovely shoulders and rear and I want to keep that, build on it. But I have so much to learn!! And of course I want that BIS buddy!

A boy or a girl? I'll take advice on that. I've been told a girl would be better. It makes sense. Girls have fewer chances to reproduce. Sperm is cheap. Ova are costly. Just the way it is. In other words we all need more girls than we do boys. And I'm not rich enough to have very many dogs.

So here are the fronts. I chose to start there because someone said I needed to take more pictures of Rogue's front because that's what broke the deal for them on her.

Rogue's front and shoulder:



And Logan:

So there they are. I like Rogue's bone. But is her chest too low for this age? Should she have a little more leg. Or is it that bone makes her look wide in front? Please. You won't hurt my feelings. I really want your feedback. If you're more comfortable saying it to me privately then that's ok too. Thanks for your help.

Update: I meant to include a reference for those who are interested in learning what we're talking about.

Pick-a-Puppy part 1: why we care about conformation

I'm dedicating this post to those puppy people who may be wondering why we care about fronts and rears so much. Why we take the photos we do when what you'd really like to see is that goofy grin that looks like he's gonna lick the giggles out of you. Make no mistake. We love that part of all of these little guys too. In fact I can assure you the people who talk about conformation on these pages are my dear friends and everyone of them thinks that part, whether it comes with puppy breath or has grown to be the elderly gentleman sleeping at their feet, that unconditional love part, that is the best.

First let me say that comparing 3 dimensional live puppies to 2-D medium,whether drawn or photographed, or even video is a difficult process. Lighting, shadows, reflections (yes, light and hence color is reflected off of surrounding objects and cast on the surface of a dog), the dog's own markings all create optical illusions. Combine this with slight to radical shifts in posture and the dog that looks great in one photograph, or even in person, can look less appealing in another situation. We who are involved in showing dogs know this very well and use these optical tricks constantly, enhancing virtues and obscuring faults. And we kind of enjoy arguing about what we see.

As Jeri suggested in a comment on an earlier post what really tells the story is movement seen in person and putting one's hands on the dog. Which is why dogs are not awarded championships based on photos. A typical conformation judge has the dogs go around the ring together first. The dog is then usually "stacked" or manipulated by the handler to stand in its most flattering posture for the judge to then go over. She feels what her eyes cannot tell her. What is under the coat? What is under the flesh? What is the skeleton of the dog? Then the dog is moved again. The judge watches them move "down and back" or going away to see what the rear is doing and coming back toward to see what the front is doing. The dog goes around the ring alone and the judge ascertains side gait. The dogs are stacked in a line all together and the judge walks by them to see them in side by side comparison. Then they all have one last go around the ring together for one more comparison of their movement. There is a lot going on.

The youngest puppy class is 6-9 months old. Anyone can guess that the puppies we are evaluating at 8 weeks look quite a bit different than ones that are 6 months.
Are we just guessing though? In my case, probably. This is my first litter. While I pour over the standard, read books, listen to mentors I still watch and wonder at dog shows and handling classes. I am still learning how the conglomeration of 320 give or take bones with all their joints, ligaments, contracting muscles and tendons work to create that longed for grace we strive for on that go around. It takes a lot of experience and I'm "young" yet. But I have a lot of helpers out there who are better educated and are lending some experienced advice. I hope to hear their voices in the comments.

I'll be referring in future posts to The Illustrated Standard, or IS. You can view it and download the pdf file here.
The Illustrated Standard of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Another resource is the Cardigan Commentary International website.

I encourage anyone who is interested in performance to become familiar with the IS, even if conformation is not your thing. The expression goes "form follows function". A performance dog has to be able to work and it's the structure which enables it to perform its job well and not tire out too easily. While one can probably care little about ear carriage and a foxlike tail, one cannot argue that correct mechanics are in direct relationship to its performance. The vast majority of the conformation of a dog to the standard is about how it performs the work it was designed for.

So now bear with us as we go over photos, hopefully some video, which in no way can tell the whole truth. But until we have the technology that enables us to all go over the dogs in some form of holographic virtual reality it's the best we can do on the internet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

8 weeks

Storm: Yes, she's a vixen who thinks she's a GSD!!

Rogue: sigh. She is such a happy puppy.

Remy LeBeau. Turns out he's quite a Southern gentleman.

Mags has got cool down to an art but we managed to catch a goofy puppy grin.

Logan. He's a good lookin' boy.

Jean. Soft, quiet and very pretty Jean.

And last but certainly not least is Charlie. I don't know if very many folks caught it but he's got freckles on his white ear.

Just a couple more weeks and all but one will wander off to new homes. I am so happy they all are marvelous families for these babies. But I'm gonna miss them. sniff.

puppy photos

Sorry. I've been watching movement all week. And had a dog show.
I should get time to stack puppies for their 8 week portraits later today.

But for those who are interested I ran across this from the NYTimes.
Puppy photos.

We have to get some Cardigan photos in there!


In other news, after 13 years of stay-at-home motherhood I am officially employed again. It's only part-time but I'm thrilled that it's teaching kids art. In this economy I was beginning to think I was doomed.
Final destination? Art and yoga therapy with an emphasis on kids' issues. So I'm getting started in the right direction.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Leash Training 101

So what do I have to do here?

Yeah. I like the cheese! I think I can do that.

Oh hi!! It's Gus-Gus!! What was I supposed to do again?

Oh right! Cheese!!

Happy tail!! Storm has a very, very happy tail.

So I had some encouragement to get them on a leash. The girls were awesome at baiting and walking alongside with a leash on the entire brood. (I only took pics of Storm this time.) I'm pleased to say they all had fun. It was easy really. They all love cheese.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

bones are awesome!!

Rogue nestling between beaver toy and meat bone.

Yes. Storms ears are up and staying. No taping for this girl!

Charlie takes this chore seriously.

Logan says: "I dunno. I think 'breast is best.' Where's Momma?"